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Liz and James chose the Gothic Chapel at Crown Hill Cemetery in downtown Indianapolis for their utterly breathtaking, moody ceremony followed by a dim-light, intimate reception in her parent’s backyard in Meridian Hills. The first half of the day was filled with soft pastel florals and the evening ended with a focus on lush greenery filling every space of the yard. The lavish outdoor affair was reminiscent of a Shakespearean dream complete with ornate fairytale tablescapes and a greenhouse covering.

How did you meet?

James sat behind Elizabeth in their Perspectives of Advertising class in grad school. It was there that James says, “I noticed her beauty and infectious laugh.” They became friends over the next couple of years, watching each other date other people that never lasted. By springtime of 2013, James was pining after Lizzie and attempting to pursue her with no luck. “She didn’t even notice my interest,” says James. Then he decided to profess his affection to Elizabeth but was rejected. “I wasn’t going to give in,” he says. “I continued to court her, slowing breaking down her walls.” After another six months, and an emergency vet appointment, Elizabeth began to look at James differently and the rest brings us to the wedding.

What is your proposal story?

On a holiday trip back to San Francisco, James proposed over almond lattes in Buena Vista Park. It was perfect because we were in our old neighborhood, the Haight-Ashbury, and could see a view of the Bay. It was personal and casual.

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).

We wanted it to be personal and enchanting. We selected the Gothic Chapel in Crown Hill Cemetery, where the Bride’s family has a plot. After the ceremony, there was a New Orleans-style Second Line to the Bride’s family plot to honor her family and maternal grandmother. While some initially thought it was a weird idea, it was beautiful and touching–bringing beautiful happy memories to a place typically associated with sadness. The wedding reception was held at the Bride’s parent’s home, where the bride and her siblings grew up. The backyard was transformed into an enchanted forest with live music, heirloom china, elegant floral arrangements, lanterns, family-style dining, and Italian pastries to honor the Groom’s Italian heritage. Tables were named after neighbors the Bride and Groom had lived in throughout their lives. The wedding table consisted of all the Bride and Groom’s out-of-town friends. It was important to honor our family and friends at the wedding. We wanted to give them the best party of their lives and show them all how much we love them.

Tell us about your attire choices.

The wedding dress was the third dress the Bride tried on at her first appointment. It was perfect and her mother and she instantly knew. Again, it was very casual and easy, just like the proposal. We knew we wanted to keep it natural, too. So, makeup just enhanced the Bride’s natural beauty and her hair pulled back in a ponytail to show off her face. We loved blush for the bridesmaids, again to keep things natural feeling, and charcoal grey was the perfect complement to blush. Therefore, the Groom, a music photographer & marketing executive, selected a charcoal grey Armani suit with Saint Laurent boots–giving off a rockstar vibe.

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

We skipped the bridal shower, bachelorette, and bachelor parties. It seemed unnecessary and wasn’t us. We did prioritize a trip to New Orleans ahead of the wedding. We saw a Second Line band and fell in love with the city. We can’t wait to go back. We did our rehearsal dinner differently, too. The rehearsal dinner was hosted by the Bride’s maternal Uncles and Grandfather, included all family and out of town friends. Again, it was all about getting an opportunity to love on each other. Honestly, the whole wedding was a splurge. It was beautifully done–everything! The credit really must go to the Bride’s mother, who has impeccable taste and brought together the perfect team of experts.

What were your favorite parts of the day?

The actual moments we married each other. It was such an intimate event. Also, seeing the faces of all those that we loved for the entire night was magical. We especially loved dancing until 2 am.

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

We’ve been working with our florist, Empty Vase, for years. They’ve done arrangements for the Bride’s grandparents, Uncles, and parents. We completely trusted them. They’re artists who knew our taste. We showed them photos of the wedding dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, and the Groom’s suit, along with photos of the backyard. We wanted it to be romantic and unique. They delivered. The bouquets and arrangements were spectacular.

Tell us about your wedding cake.

We didn’t want a wedding cake. It wasn’t us. It seemed too “wedding-ish”. We selected an assortment of Italian pastries from Gallery Pastry. It was a hit. It wasn’t what anyone expected.

What did you do for favors?

We provided hankies for waving during the Second Line.

Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.

Outside the Gothic Chapel was a table with photos of the Groom’s Father and the Bride’s Maternal Grandmother, who have both passed away. The Bride wore yellow and white diamond earrings she inherited from her maternal grandmother. The Groom wore a gold chain of his father’s. The china and linens were from the Bride’s mother collection. And the wedding was held at the Bride’s childhood family home, where friends from all over the country explored the house. We created Welcome Baskets for all our out of town friends that were in their hotel rooms when they arrived.

Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?

To honor the Bride’s Grandfather’s importance in her life, the Bride’s Grandfather walked her down the beginning of the aisle, and then the Bride’s Father walked her the remainder of the way and gave her away. The Bride’s Great Uncle, a Law Professor from Boston, was the Reverend. And the Bride and Groom’s siblings were all members of the wedding party.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Go with the flow and let the wedding evolve into the magical event it will naturally be.

Event Credits

PhotographyViolet Short
Ceremony VenueGothic Chapel
Reception VenueParent’s Backyard
FloralsEmpty Vase
BarJesse Lee
Wedding DressGalia Lahav
Groom’s AttireArmani
Bride’s ShoesStuart Weitzman